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Diego Costa stars as Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table

The striker has just come through a turbulent time at the club.

Diego Costa makes a gesture to the crowd after scoring for Chelsea.
Diego Costa makes a gesture to the crowd after scoring for Chelsea.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Chelsea 2

Hull City 0

DIEGO COSTA MARKED his return to Chelsea duty by scoring the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Hull on Sunday that saw the Premier League leaders go eight points clear after Arsenal went second by coming through late penalty drama.

Brazil-born Spain forward Costa, who on Sunday took his Chelsea tally for the season to 15 goals, missed last weekend’s 3-0 win at Leicester City due to a back complaint.

But Costa, the Blues’ leading scorer this term, was reported to have had a training-ground row with fitness coach Julio Tous, amid speculation he had been the subject of a mega-money offer from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.

Following a sickening clash of heads between Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and Hull’s Ryan Mason, Costa struck in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage-time when he turned in Victor Moses’s cross.

Hull, belying their position of second-bottom in the table, pushed Chelsea hard and might have had a penalty before Cahill sealed victory for the hosts nine minutes from time at Stamford Bridge when he ran on unchallenged to head in Cesc Fabregas’s free-kick.

After scoring the opening goal of the game, Costa wheeled away making gestures to the crowd in response to the speculation about his future with the club.

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Speaking after the game, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said he was happy with his decision to reinstate Costa in the team.

“His performance was good and I am pleased for this,” Conte said.

“In the press conference before the game a lot of people asked me about his form, his attitude. I took the best decision for the team and I think I made the best decision after this performance.

“It is normal to receive a lot of questions (about Costa). The most important thing for us is the answer on the pitch, for the player, for me, for the club, for the fans and for the league table.”

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